By Ky Finds: Tawia Designs

My sneakers finally came! I ordered these bad boys before going to South Africa in hopes that they would arrive in time for my trip. Of course they didn’t but I can’t wait to wear them this summer. They are Authentic Nike Roshe Sneakers with Dogon Mudcloth customized by Tawia Designs. I noticed Nike came out with some customized black history sneakers for Black History Month and while debating if I should get those, I came across these beautiful things. What I love is that the print comes from Ghana. A percentage of every sneaker purchased is given back to Growing Power Inc. which helps feed neighbors, nurture youth, and support sustainable communities.

If you like what you see click the link below and visit the site: http://www.tawiadesigns.com/

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By Ky Books: Why you should re-read the Autobiography of Malcom X as an Adult

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It seems like growing up everyone had to read the Autobiography of Malcom X, it was probably mandatory in school. Yet, although I was required to read excerpts from the book, I can honestly say I don’t remember reading this book in full as a child and I am kind of happy I didn’t because reading the Autobiography of Malcom X as an adult is one of the most enthralling reading experiences I’ve ever had.

Through new adult lenses, I can understand Malcom X beyond what the world and the media tried to portray him as, a hateful radical. I see that there was truth in what he was saying, it just was delivered defensively and under the guise of Elijah Muhammad being some sort of prophet from God which just was not the case and a hard pill to swallow as a Christian reader. However Malcom X is such a revolutionary figure in our history and he is often over shadowed by other political figures. Continue reading “By Ky Books: Why you should re-read the Autobiography of Malcom X as an Adult”

Movie Monday: Lee Daniels The Butler

z6-shoji-butler-interview-a-20140214.jpgThese are our stories. OUR stories. The Butler is based on a true story of the life of Eugene Allen who was a butler for over 30-years in the White House. This movie resonated with me from the opening scene. The scene is deep although not based on Eugene Allen’s real life. A young Cecil Gaines, his mother, played by Mariah Carey, and his father played by David Banner are taking a picture on the cotton fields of the deep south when suddenly his mother is raped by an overseer. Cecil encourages his father to speak up on his mother’s behalf. His father tries to address the rape but is shot dead on the spot by the crazed overseer in front of his young son. This scene illustrates so many things but what rings out to me most is the dehumanization of black lives. Our lives meant nothing back then and it hurt watching.

Ultimately Cecil’s mother goes crazy and Cecil is taken in by the Madame to be a house boy/ house slave, which sets the tone for his career. Cecil works hard and eventually lands a job in the White House as a butler, which he takes very seriously. Simultaneously he juggles being a husband and a father to his two young sons. One of his sons being a revolutionary who is deeply apart of the struggle for Civil Rights, a far cry from  Cecil’s temperament.

This movie tugged on my heartstrings for many reasons. For one, it does a great job with representing the times and the tones of the day, from Emmett Till’s death to the Civil Rights Movement, to the Black Panthers Movement, to the Apartheid struggle in South Africa, and it does it so well. Secondly, one of the most defining moments for me in the movie was Cecil finally coming into consciousness. He realized that after years of playing the “contented negro” he deserved more for his life and he needed to fight for it. This movie resonated with me in my own life. Never be afraid to demand what you want and never settle for a situation that you know you deserve more for. Always strive to be your very best self but also remain humble. Cecil was a humble and a hard working man and I admire his work ethic and his contribution. He broke barriers and paved the way for us which is a powerful thing.

This movie is currently playing on Netflix which is where I watched it if interested.

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The Podcast: Oh No You Didn’t!

I remember when I was in college and one of the students in my African American History class said, “Why is there a BET? Would you guys appreciate it if we had a WET?” The bigger question was why in this day in age are we still explaining this? WET is main stream television!

With shows like “Girls” and “Friends” with all white casts that encompasses agency, gender, and relationships beyond the representation of Caucasian people, it baffles me that we still have to explain why our own networks, our own award shows, and our own historically black colleges are necessary.

This podcast explores some of the things that I’ve heard or experienced from others that were just not okay. Irony is, I recorded this almost a week before Stacey Dash decided to share her views on Black History Month and BET!

Things I address:

#1 Why is there a BET?

Simple, main stream TV, Movies and Media is catered to white people and we are sick of not seeing our stories represented so we created our own platform to do so.

#2 50 Black Owned Restaurants

A friend of mine was annoyed that I was promoting the 50 Black Owned Restaurants in NYC via Idontdoclubs.com. The sad part of the whole situation is that out of all the restaurants in NYC this website could only compile 50. Eventually the list grew to 100, but still…the disparity is huge.

#3 The N Word (Used by Others)

I feel the need to explain this story more. The person I talked about wasn’t calling me the N word, she was talking to her fellow white co-worker, but I was with in close proximity to hear her, so it was offensive.

#4 Affirmative Action

I feel like blacks are perfectly capable of getting into the best colleges and excelling. However I don’t see anything wrong with Affirmative Action. Inner-city black people are not afforded the same resources as their white counter parts and to even the playing field I believe that Affirmative Action is necessary.

#5 Cultural Appropriation

It really is crazy! I really get it, and I may have to do another podcast to dive deeper into this topic, however I am not strongly angered when Kylie Jenner gets her lips done or wear baby hair–who cares? Can we focus on the more important things happening in the world like child marriage? or children having to live in unsanitary conditions all over the world?

 

https://soundcloud.com/lifestylebyky/oh-no-you-didnt

 

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Confronting My History

This is what happened when I decided to confront my history in one day.

January 18th 2016

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I had the day off and decided I wanted to watch all the black historical films that I’ve been avoiding since 2012.

First, let me explain my avoidance. These films as a black person are just hard to watch. They are completely necessary to watch but hard nonetheless. I take on the emotional burdens of these historical films depicting Slavery or the Civil Rights Movement. My mind does not allow me to separate between this being a movie, made by Hollywood, from the fact that this Hollywood made movie is a depiction of actual events and occurrences that took place in the past and so I watch these films as if these movies are real and I am  emotionally burdened by it all.

In spite of this, I just decided I wanted to be radical and not just watch one of these movies but all of them in one sitting. I wanted to watch D’Jango Unchained, 12-Years A Slave, The Butler, and Selma (if I had time, I would throw in the Malcom X movie). I dived headfirst. I started with Selma because it was MLK Day. Selma had a few rough scenes that shook me to my core and made me cry. The police ruthless beatings with the batons, the violence, the hatred, the disrespect, it messed with me but I kept on going.

Next up, I tried to find 12-Years A Slave. I couldn’t find it on Hulu or Netflix. My friends later told me, God spared my mind because that movie is a hard one. One day I will come back to it.

Then I watched D’Jango which was interesting. I liked it. It showed a black man empowered during slavery even though he was a murderer…hmm. What I hated most about this movie was the dog scene where a runaway slave was torn apart by dogs. This was a practice of slave masters during slavery, it just hurt so bad to watch.

The Butler, was next on my list. I was surprised by how great this movie was. It’s really powerful. The opening scene is a tearjerker. The rape and murder of Cecil Gaines parents illustrates how dehumanized black lives were during this time. Cecil Gaines worked hard and made his way into the White House, but he resented his eldest son who was a part of the struggle. His son was apart of the civil rights movement, the freedom rides, the Black Panther movement, and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. These historical references added so much substance to the movie and illustrated just how challenging the times were. Certain parts of this movie hurt to watch. Cecil constantly fought to get paid equally as the other white butlers and was shut down and told he could quit. His work as a domestic although underestimated and looked upon as “uncle tom’ish” made a huge contribution to the plight of our race and I thank him for his work and the work of many black domestics of our times just trying to make a living for their families.

January 19th 2016

By the time I watched all three of these movies I was emotionally beat. I tried to go to sleep but I couldn’t. Continue reading “Confronting My History”

Movie Monday: What Happened, Miss Simone?

This choice is not necessarily a movie, more of a documentary but I enjoyed learning about the life and times of Nina Simone, one of the most influential singers my race has ever had. At the height of Nina Simone’s career she began to take part in the civil rights movement, which some say jeopardized her career because she became radical. What I loved about this documentary is that it humanizes Nina, and shows her vulnerabilities and quite frankly her demons with growing up in an American society that devalued her because of her blackness. Unlike many other entertainers, she couldn’t sit back idly and do nothing. She was very involved in the struggle.

If you have Netflix, please watch What Happened, Miss Simone?

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